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China-US Sanctions War Heats Up Again

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China-US Sanctions War Heats Up Again

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam officially opened the new National Security Office on 8 July

US President Donald Trump has signed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, a bipartisan act to penalize banks that work with Chinese officials alleged to be interfering in Hong Kong affairs. China has vowed to take reciprocal steps.

The latest measure adopted by the US Congress and signed by President Trump will end the preferential economic treatment of the semi-autonomous Chinese city. The US announced the measure as a response to the application of a uniform national security law to the city by the Chinese government. The national security law criminalizes sedition, secession, and subversion against mainland China and allows China’s national security agency to operate in the city.

“No special privileges, no special economic treatment and no export of sensitive technologies,” Trump said after signing the executive order on, among other things, sanctions against banks doing business with Chinese officials involved in the implementation of the new security law in Hong Kong.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Beijing strongly opposed Trump’s move, urging his administration to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs.

“Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs and no foreign country has the right to interfere,” the ministry said.

It said Beijing would impose retaliatory sanctions on US individuals and entities.

The Chinese government was further angered by Mike Pompeo’s statement on Wednesday morning that the US will impose visa restrictions on Chinese corporate executives that it claims have facilitated human rights violations.

China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang summoned US ambassador to China Terry Branstad the same day to make “solemn representations” regarding the latest punitive measure, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Relations between the two countries, already severely strained, have reached new lows this month, with the US sending two aircraft carriers to the South China Sea for military manoeuvres and also approving new arms sales to Taiwan. LINK

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